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forgivingnow posted 1/9/2014 09:52 AM

Last night my husband was sharing with me feelings of shame and not being sure if/how to forgive himself. For him to be going to IC and opening up to me like this is incredible and I am very proud of him and the work he is doing. I told him I had forgiven him and wanted him to forgive himself. I had read some things that helped me with forgiveness that I would share. And when I was crying in the middle of the night he held me and said I love you, I got you & we are working thru this together...

Dear Mr. FN
This is a chapter about forgiveness that really helped me, from the book "Things I wish I had known before I got married by Gary Chapman. He is the author that wrote the 5 Love Languages. It's talking about forgiving a partner but can absolutely be applied to forgiving yourself. No one is perfect and we all have things we need to forgive ourselves for.

Just as the author says Love is not a feeling, it is a choice, so is forgiveness. "Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision." I believe after the decision to forgive, you can really get to acceptance, like the serenity prayer...
accept the things you can not change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Gary Chapman talks about the 4 things forgiveness does not do:
1) forgiveness does not destroy our memory. Our memory is all of our experiences, good & bad. Memory by our conscious mind-things we think of right now(present) & our subconscious mind-remembering past experiences/feelings.
He explains how memories go from our subconscious to our conscious mind
a)we retrieve it...what did you eat this morning, what did you do yesterday, last month?
b)some memories are buried and hard to retrieve
c)sometimes "memories leap from the subconscious to the conscious mind without being requested. This is often true of hurtful memories." This explains triggers to me. He goes on to say "the memory does not mean you have not forgiven. It means simply that you are a human and remembering a painful experience." To me, forgiveness is a process, feel your feelings, talk about them and move forward. Repeat.
2)Forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of wrongdoing.
3)Forgiveness does not rebuild trust. "How is trust rebuilt? By changing your behavior and being trustworthy. Over a period of time." Being transparent.
4)Forgiveness does not always result in reconciliation. But WE are there. Love, passion, focusing on us, being a team.

I have never been so grateful, happy and felt so much love for you and from you. Like you said we are working thru this together.
These words resonate with me...
"Forgiveness is the only healthy response to an apology. If we choose not to forgive, then the barrier remains and the relationship is estranged. Time alone will not heal the relationship. Healing requires the decision to forgive. And forgiveness opens the door to the possibility of growth."
You are my best friend. I love you and I love US.

creativecat posted 1/9/2014 15:08 PM

Great thoughts on forgiveness...ones I needed to read, too! Mostly, not feeling like I could totally forgive because I don't fully trust (yet). This separates the two, and says forgiveness doesn't imply trust. Great perspective.

trying1 posted 1/9/2014 15:17 PM

Awesome thoughts. I have been trying to get to forgiveness and had the hurdle of "how do I forgive him if I don't trust that he won't hurt me again."

great thought. Thanks for sharing.

Skan posted 1/9/2014 17:49 PM

This very much lines up with the way that my FWH and I have approached forgiveness after DDay of each other for acts that we have committed upon one another, and of ourselves for the acts that we have chosen.

Doesn't mean that we both don't have triggers. Doesn't mean that it comes easy. Doesn't mean that the action didn't occur and doesn't have consequences. Does mean that we want to move beyond our feelings of hurt by acknowledging them, acknowledging that we are frail and imperfect humans, and that we will do better from this point on.

Great post!

looking forward posted 1/9/2014 18:40 PM

There are two great books on Forgiveness that I highly recommend:

Forgiveness ~ How To Make Peace With Your Past And Get On With Your Life by Dr. Sidney B. Simon and Suzanne Simon (ISBN 0-446-39259-6)
~ Based on their popular "Forgiveness" seminar, the author of Getting Unstuck and his wife designed to help readers let go of their pain and get on with their lives.

What Forgiveness Is Not
Forgiveness is not forgetting.
Forgiveness is not condoning.
Forgiveness is not absolution.
Forgiveness is not a form of self-sacrifice.
Forgiveness is not a clear-cut, one-time decision.

What Forgiveness Is
Forgiveness is a by-product of an ongoing healing process.
Forgiveness is an internal process.
Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem.
Forgiveness is letting go of the intense emotions attached to incidents from our past.
Forgiveness is recognizing that we no longer need our grudges and resentments, our hatred and self-pity.
Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish the people who hurt us.
Forgiveness is accepting that nothing we do to punish them will heal us.
Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds.
Forgiveness is moving on.

How Can I Forgive You? The Courage To Forgive, The Freedom Not To by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D. (ISBN 0-06-000390-6)
~ Using illustrative material from her nearly 30 years as a therapist, the author outlines four approaches to forgiveness: (1) cheap forgiveness, which she sees as an inauthentic act of peacekeeping that resolves nothing; (2) refusing to forgive, which is categorized as a rigid response that keeps one entombed in hate; (3) acceptance, which is a healing gift that asks nothing of the offender; and (4) genuine forgiveness, which the author describes as a healing transaction and an intimate dance. Spring has discovered that we are all looking for "some new approach, that frees us from the corrosive effects of hate, gives voice to the injustice, and helps us to make peace with the person who hurt us and with ourselves." This self-help book is aimed at those who have done wrong and those who have been wronged.


page 136 about encouraging the person you hurt to share her pain:

If you're a conflict avoider, her silence will seem preferable to her rage. But don't be fooled. Muffled pain is just as problematic as uncontrollable fury, and perhaps even more dysfunctional. If you don't draw her out and encourage her to talk through her injury, she'll never get close to you or forgive you.
I can't stress this point enough: no conflict, no closeness.
If you want to rebuild the bond, you, the offender, must regularly invite and embolden her to reveal how deeply you have hurt her. This opening up to you is an act of intimacy, a first step in lowering the barrier between you. Detachment may be her protection. But what may be protective to her is likely to be a death knell for the relationship.

Pg. 114
Acceptance is not a failure to forgive but an equally powerful way of healing an injury when the person who hurt you fails to participate in the process. Acceptance is not an inferior, immature, or morally deficient reaction. It is a wise and proactive alternative. You can’t draw blood from a stone, but you can accept an unrepentant offender.
Acceptance is a process you enter into primarily to free yourself from the trauma of an injury. Your goal is not necessarily forgiveness. Your goal is emotional resolution, the restoration of your best self, the rekindling of meaning and value in your life….
Acceptance supports not only your resolution of the past but your vision of the future….

Pg. 115
The process of Acceptance can help you…not only to survive trauma but to learn from it and grow. It’s not, as some people say, that the injury changes you for the better, it’s that your understanding of the injury changes you for the better. As you resolve old conflicts and confront how they contaminate your responses today, you create new possibilities that integrate and empower your most resilient self.

Replacing Shame with Empathy (pg. 68)
Shame comes when you think that his behavior is about you....Shame lifts when you realize that his behavior is about him.

Guilt and Shame (pg. 133)(The Offender)
Guilt is a response to a specific behavior -- one you wish to correct. Shame is a negative response to yourself as a person. You feel guilt for doing bad; you feel shame for being bad.

Humiliation and Shame(pg. 189)
It's important to distinguish between humiliation and shame. Humiliation is a condition imposed on you by the offender. Shame, in contrast, refers to your inner experience of yourself as unworthy. When someone injures you, humiliation and shame can become blurred. You confuse his hurtful, demeaning behavior with your private sense of who you are.

foolishlycluless posted 1/9/2014 18:46 PM

I'm not ready to move on to forgiveness yet, but when I'm ready, I'll look back on this information. Thank you for posting FN.

forgivingnow posted 1/9/2014 18:53 PM

Thank you Lookingforward. I had not heard of the first book. I love the statement forgiveness is a byproduct of an ongoing healing process and a sign of positive self esteem.

Kap12 posted 1/9/2014 19:22 PM

Thanks for this post. I needed to read this tonight.

iamsurviving posted 1/9/2014 19:29 PM

Thank you sooooooooooooooo much for posting this. I have been struggling so hard with this - we are 6 years post first DDay and we are still struggling big time. I have tried to forgive but I just can't seem to - H is in CR (Celebrate Recovery - and a support group another night). We talk about it but it actually destroys me sometimes and we wind up arguing (we never argued before) and it brings up all the affairs. I will try very hard to work on this this year - I definitely need a relief from tears - that's for sure. God bless all here at SI. you are in my prayers daily.

spond posted 1/10/2014 06:43 AM

forgivingnow & looking forward..

Thanks for posting this as well... great information.

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